Thanks, to all who responded to Kathleen Avenue house fire
Sir: With sincere thanks, Barbara Brennan and her family wish to extend their gratitude to the neighbours, friends, Paterson Memorial Church, local businesses and agencies for their heartwarming response to the traumatic and tragic house fire on Kathleen Avenue on Tuesday, July 28.
Apart from the immediate invitation of shelter and support, the Kathleen Avenue community rallied to host a barbecue and “Fill the Boot” to provide financial assistance.
Approximately 40 neighbours and local businesses volunteered their time and resources in a variety of ways. The response and support was overwhelming.
Special thanks to the first responders, including Sarnia Fire Rescue, Sarnia Police, EMS, Red Cross and ServiceMaster for the professionalism and compassion exhibited during and after the fire.
Sometimes, not until a disaster occurs is it realized what a great community we live in, and how fortunate we are to have the many resources available to assist us through challenging times.
Barbara Brennan & family
Young voters could make a difference this municipal election
Sir: There is evidence young people are interested in politics and engage in civic and political activities: from demonstrations against university tuition fees, to boycotting products that damage the environment, to campaigns against closing parks or youth clubs.
Young people are often interested in key issues but are put off by politicians and political parties.
Locally, young people and all those who generally never vote, should consider their democratic right and show they care about their city.
In the 2014 municipal election 68% did not vote and the “same old, same old” was elected. This October there is a mayoral candidate with the integrity, drive and determination to end the political spin of the tried, tested and true, status quo bias.
Anne Marie Gillis has the clarity of real leadership and a wonderful collaborative approach (without bullying staff) to make things happen.
Make no mistake, the future of Sarnia as a vibrant, inclusive and forward-thinking city is in voter hands.
Whatever their circumstances, online voting shouldn’t be a hurdle. Electors can vote using a telephone, computer, cell phone, iPad, tablet or laptop. There are also Voter Help Centres for those who do not have a device.
If voters are wavering in their preference for mayor because of media coverage of problems at City Hall; then a recent discussion about respect and the position of mayor may help.
It was pointed out respect must go both ways at City Hall, and respect for the current mayor has been lacking from councillors and staff.
My humble but experienced response, as a retired army officer, is that respect must be earned and not given because of position or perceived status.
Voters, make sure you are registered. You are important and your vote does matter.
Vote in Bradley and a new council and clean house at City Hall
Sir: I would like to remind the voters of Sarnia about the past four years with the city and county councils.
This group approved $13.5 million of our tax dollars on that nightmare we used to call Centennial Park. They voted against repairing Jackson Pool and against Baxter Park residents. They built walls at City Hall to isolate our mayor with our tax dollars. They removed the receptionist at the front desk, which limited access to handicapped people trying to enter. And they approved tax increase of up to 5% some years.
Council, with the aid of the CAO and city clerk, have bullied the mayor from day one and put a gag order on his freedom of speech.
Anne Marie Gillis is running her mayoral campaign on a platform of a safe work place and anti-bullying policy, yet she publicly suggested the mayor caused the death of former city engineer Andre Morin, who died of natural causes.
Talk about hypocrisy. Because of her voting pack and the so-called integrity commissioner, nothing was done.
I’ve heard many people calling the morning radio talk show and blame the mayor for Centennial Park, Jackson Pool, Baxter Park, road repairs and other problems. The mayor has only one vote, and he and Coun. Dave Boushy are always outvoted by the councillors who vote together and have a majority.
This council, including Gillis, has an agenda with electronic voting. They have refused to include paper ballots for the election and hope most seniors, who support Mayor Bradley, will become frustrated and won’t vote.
We need to get rid of Gillis, as well as councillors Bruziewicz, MacDougall, Mitro and White.
With Mayor Mike Bradley and a new council in place they can start cleaning house, beginning by hiring a new CAO, city clerk and integrity commissioner.
There also needs to be a full audit and disclosure on Centennial Park and other wasteful spending.
Get out and vote. Don’t let this council deter you from voting.
Mike Bradley has been wrongly accused of harassment
Sir: In her Aug. 30 letter, Laurie Trombley speaks in glowing tones about Coun. Anne Marie Gillis after having a personal conversation with her.
I’m sure Laurie is right. I’m sure Anne Marie is a lovely person. A close friend who knows her personally has told me so.
However, after the harassment shown over the past few years towards our duly elected mayor, I think that possibly there is a different side to Anne Marie (who was in reality the leader of the pack).
Our current council had some new members, and sorry to say, some of whom I probably voted for.
I have personally been in touch with Mayor Mike Bradley many times over the past 20-plus years. The first time I sent him snail mail. I was upset with a decision he publically made. He replied by return mail explaining his logic.
Shockingly, it turned out he was right and I was wrong. Yes I can admit when I am wrong.
Over time, if I had a problem involving city staff duties, such as snow removal, I would contact Mayor Mike and he would attempt to deal with the issue. I think this is the harassment he has wrongly been accused of.
I worked in local offices at large and successful industries for 30-plus years. During that time, if the company president came to my desk and demanded I fulfill a duty that was on my job description, I didn’t answer, “You’re not my boss.” I answered, “Yes, of course.”
I have always had co-operation from city staff. I think they do their jobs. However, apparently the CAO and council think they shouldn’t have to.
Ask yourself — is that how you want your tax dollars and vote spent?
If so, by all means vote for Anne Marie. If not, PLEASE, vote for someone else.
Random act of kindness at grocery store paid forward in full
Sir: One of the joys of living in a small community is the citizens truly care about their fellow citizens.
I have had the pleasure of living in Sarnia, Ontario for more than 30 years. During this time I have witnessed or heard of many random acts of kindness taking place in this great city of ours. Recently, I was the recipient of one.
It happened on a brutally hot day a few weeks ago. I was in a grocery store and probably looked a bit worse for wear. I’d left my wallet in the car and realized I would have to venture back into the heat to retrieve it.
I mentioned it the lady in the checkout line ahead of me, she told me to just run my things through with hers and she’d take care of it.
When I protested, she just asked me to pay it forward the first chance I had. I told her she was very kind and that I would do that.
Fortunately, a few days later I had an opportunity to pay it forward. As for that lady with the kind heart, I hope she sees this letter and realizes I’m speaking about her unselfish act of kindness.
I would like to thank her again and assure her that her act of kindness was paid forward.
I’m proud to be a member of this great city.
The choice is clear, Bradley should be re-elected mayor
Sir: In response to Peter Clarke’s Aug. 23 letter, “Sarnia needs new mayor leadership with Anne Marie Gillis,” well, that is his opinion.
He blames the mayor, and cites his hockey analogy about being sent to the penalty box.
I have learned it’s best to stay out of the penalty box, because that way I get more ice time. If you are really bad, you get two minutes, ten minutes and a game misconduct. You’re gone. So, ganging up on leadership gets you nothing.
Mr. Clarke quoted great leadership lines about integrity, honesty and empathy. Well, backstabbing, lying and selfishness have also shown up, and I think the mayor handled it really well.
When the ship is sinking, true leaders stand up, stay up and fight.
Time will tell if voters favour 30 years of steady leadership by Mayor Mike Bradley, or Anne Marie Gillis coming to the rescue.
City not enforcing garbage bag tag rules
Sir: As everyone should know, you are required to purchase and attach bag tags on curbside garbage over the three-bag or container limit.
As I walk through my neighborhood, I continually see households with four to 10 bags or more, or containers overflowing with four to five bags in each one. Of course, there are no tags attached.
I contacted City Hall and in many conversations I was assured the matter would be looked into and handled with the contractor.
But there has been no change in the matter, so here is my recommendation to all the honest people out there who purchase tags.
Try putting out one or two extra bags with no tags and see if your collection takes them. Then stop purchasing tags.
The city doesn’t care, the contractor doesn’t care, so save your hard earned dollars.
Unfortunately, this is just a small example of the new Canadian way of thinking: “Well, that law doesn’t apply to me, eh.”
And the only people to face any consequences are the honest ones. Thanks.